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Indian Rhino - Rhinoceros unicornis

The Indian Rhinoceros is a herbivorous grazer that belongs to the order of the Perissodactyla and is one of the three species of Rhinos native to Asia. It occurs in the foothills of the Himalaya in Nepal and India (especially Assam). The indian Rhino is a browser and lives in to the South of the Himalaya in the grass- and wetlands. Its primary characteristics are its 'armor plating' and its single horn. There are about 2,600 Indian Rhino left in the wild, but their numbers were less than 200 early in the 20th century. This demise was mainly caused by paoching and habitat loss. There recovery is one of two succes stories in rhino conservation, the other being the Southern White Rhino.

Indian Rhino Facts


General information

  • Weight: 1,800 - 2,700 kg (4,000 – 6,000 lbs)
  • Height (at shoulder): 1,75 – 2 m (5,75 -6,5 ft)
  • Length (head and body): 3 – 3,8 m (10 - 12,5 ft)
  • Horn length: 0,20 – 0,60 m (8 in – 24 in)
  • Lifespan: 40 to 50 years
  • Characteristics: only one horn and skin with large folds all over its body.

Indian Rhino Behaviour

  • Indian Rhinos may reach speeds of 40 km/h (25 m/h) and are extremely good swimmers.
  • Indian Rhinos are primarily solitary except for the females when they have a calf.
  • Indian Rhinos have home ranges of 2-8 square kilometers in size.
  • Males are loosely territorial.
  • Indian Rhinos feed during the morning and evening and spend the afternoon wallowing in lakes, rivers and ponds.

Indian Rhino Reproduction

  • Gestation period: 15 - 16 months.
  • Birth intervals per calf: 1 to 3 years.
  • Female sexual maturity: at 5 to 7 years
  • Male sexual maturity: at approximately 10 years
  • Newborn weaned: at 18 months

Indian Rhino Distribution

    Latest status figures:

    Kaziranga National Park [March 2012] – total 2290 rhinos

    Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary [March 2012] – total 93

    Orang National Park [March 2012] – total 100

    Manas Tiger Reserve [March 2012] – total 22 (translocated from Pabitora and Kaziranga since 2006)

  • Pre 20th century numbers: 200.
  • Current numbers in wild: 2,619
  • Current numbers in captivity: At the end of 2006, there were 158 Indian Rhino in captivity. In the past 200 years to 1998, there were 397 animals (of which 137 were born in a zoo).
  • Habitat: grasslands and riverine forests.
  • Historic Natural Range: The southern parts of the Himalaya, ranging from Pakistan through Northern India and Nepal to Assam. Some records tell of Indian Rhinos in China.
  • Current Range: In several National Parks primarily located in Nepal, India and Assam (the highest Indian rhino density in the world).

Indian Rhino Diet

  • Indian Rhinos are primarily grazers but occasionally also browse.
  • Indian Rhinos prefer wetlands and also are known to feed on aquatic plants while in the water.

Common Names

  • Indian Rhinoceros: This name refers to the country they occur in.
  • Nepales rhinoceros: Indian Rhinos are also found in Nepal.
  • Greater one-horned rhinoceros: Refers to the species only having one horn and being the larger of the other species also having one horn: the Javan Rhino.
  • Other names: view a list of Indian Rhino Vernacular Names

Scientific Name


The scientific name for the Indian Rhino is Rhinoceros unicornis. Rhinoceros being from the Greek rhino for “nose” and ceros meaning “horn”.Unicornis is from the Latin uni meaning “one” and cornis meaning 'horn' . Throughout history the Indian Rhino has been referred to using quite a lot of different scientific names. View a list of Indian Rhino Scientific names.


  • There are no subspecies of the Indian Rhino


Heller-Blatt after Williamson
De Bruyn 1583 Rhino and elephants
Van Amburgh Circus 1872
Bolton in Windsor Magazine
Rhinoceros cucullatus
Family 1834
Calcutta 1993
Le Keux 1827 frontispiece
Poster's Tafereelen, 1811
Rhino bathing in jungle
Buffon Naturgeschichte 1784
Basel Zoo
Freeman 1851 Paris Zoo
>> More Images

External Links

Animal info: Indian Rhino (hits:386)
Biology, ecology, habitat, and status of the Indian Rhino and information on their native countries: biodiversity, ecosystems & population.
WWF: Indian Rhino Info (hits:566)
Extensive information by the World Wildlife Fund on the Indian Rhino. Covers physiology, threats, habitat and much more.

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